WIP WEDNESDAY: Slow motion replay


So, about that shawl…I realized midway through the last pattern repeat that I had royally fucked up the lace pattern on the last leaf before the center stitch markers and the last leaf of the row.  I was unhappy with how it looked, so I ripped out fifteen rows of lace and started knitting again.

One of the “mistakes” I made in the previous iteration gave the leaves a nice curve at the top, and when I started working on this again I couldn’t figure out how I made that mistake.  So I have more angular leaves.  Next time I work a pattern like this, I’m taking notes.  #themoreyouknow

Sadly, the leaves at the ends of the rows are still ugly.

P1010475 P1010476

TUESDAY TUNES: Special “I’m Only Going To Say This Once” Edition

So everyone in the indie rock demimonde has collectively lost their shit over Courtney Barnett…

…but when I listen to her all I can think of is how much she sounds like Mark E. Smith of the Fall.

They even kind of look alike.  Are they secretly related and we don’t know about it?


So there I was, traipsing through Porter Square without a care in the world.  I had just taken part in a clinical study, which left me with $50 burning a hole in my pocket.  I was thinking of using it for some practical purpose, like paying my phone bill.

And then I walked past Mind’s Eye Yarns and noticed a sign in the window: “Anniversary Sale”.  I hadn’t bought yarn for myself in months, and even though I was planning to Cold Sheep my way through the summer months, the lure of a sale proved too tempting.  Half an hour later and :cough: $60 lighter, I left Mind’s eye with a bag full of…


…a sweater’s worth of Malabrigo Worsted in Azul Profundo.  I haven’t made up my mind, but I’m thinking of making Matilda Jane with this.  My one concern with Matilda Jane is that, because of the corset detail and the neckline, I might have a hard time styling that sweater.  The yarn’s TARDIS-like color makes me think I should knit something worthy of one of the Doctor’s companions.  Any suggestions?


…one skein of Holiday Yarns sock in light pink.  I just got my 45s out of layaway, and I want to make a pair of Spatterdashes to go along with them.


…and, finally, the free gift I got with purchase.  The store was giving away a skein of Noro for every $25 purchased, which meant I came away with two skeins of the much-loved yarn.  I opted for a solid blue-based pink.  I’m thinking of making something by Caitlin ffrench from this yarn.  She does a beautiful job with lace in unusual textures, and something about this just makes me think of her.

What was the last skein of yarn you bought?

Do you buy for projects, or do you get the yarn first? 


For my inaugural Friday Five, I’m stepping into a time machine to look back at some previous eras.  Join me, won’t you?

I first heard about Halt and Catch Fire from Molly Lambert and Emily Yoshida’s sadly defunct podcast Girls in Hoodies.  Their praise for the series — which follows the misadventures of three tech innovators in the Silicon Prairie of the mid-1980s — piqued my interest, and when I got an Amazon card for my birthday I sprung for the DVD box set.  After binge-watching the first season, I started buying the episodes from iTunes once season 2 started.  What’s gotten me to fall in love with this series?  The milieu, which is so familiar (speaking as someone who’s the same age as Gordon and Donna’s daughters) and yet so foreign; the engaging characters, played by brilliant actors; the subtlety and the suspense it courts; the working relationship between punk coding prodigy Cameron and working-mom Donna, and the music.  As someone with mental conditions, I’m really impressed with how the writing team has handled Cameron’s anxiety, and I also love how the show has depicted the parallels between the punk scene and the nascent internet/gaming subculture.  And the cliffhanger ending for this week’s episode…oh em gee.  Sadly, AMC is taking a wait-and-see approach to a Season 3.  If you’re looking for a series to take the place of Mad Men on your Sunday nights, give this one a shot.

Staying in the southwest (I think) but moving the time machine forward to 1989, We Can Never Go Home is a comics miniseries about two teenage misfits with superpowers.  The hyper-realistic depiction of the protagonists’ hometown and school grounds the story and makes the violence they experience all the more shocking.  I first heard about this through this post on Instagram, and anything with an explicit nod to Hüsker Dü is A-OK with me.  Matthew Rosenberg and his creative team have done a great job of engaging the audience and making the main characters’ struggles palpable and painful.  The last page of Issue 3 left a lump in my throat.  This will apparently be a limited run, so get in while it’s still going.

Let’s go west with the You Must Remember This podcast, which is taking a long, hard look at Charles Manson’s Hollywood this season.  Due to the brutal nature of Manson’s crimes, whether I’ll last through the season is anyone’s guess, but the episode dealing with Manson’s connection to Dennis Wilson was fascinating and deeply sad.  I have a great fondness for Dennis Wilson’s solo albums (Pacific Ocean Blue sounds like a mashup of peak Nilsson and early Springsteen), and getting some backup on the creation of those records makes them all the more poignant.  Karina Longworth always has something worthwhile to say, and her love of film is steeped in a great intellectual curiosity and an irreverent attitude that might make you reconsider things you took for granted.

Staying in Southern California but going back a bit, this skirt caught my eye on the Junebugs and Georgia Peaches blog, and I have to say…I’m in love.  I’m hoping I get a job soon so I can get one in time for fall.  I love the ric-rac detail, and the print makes me smile.  (I’m with you, Amelia: the cactus riding the pinata FTW.)

Finally, moving a little forward to the Kennedy era…I try to keep political matters off my blog, but for the past year I’ve been working a position funded by AmeriCorps.  Holding down this job has given me the opportunity to hone my skills and learn more about the field I want to pursue (social media and marketing for nonprofit arts and education organizations), and has allowed me to engage in activism and learn more about people and communities with whom I haven’t worked.  I’m very proud of my work here, and as I wind down my service year I am dismayed to learn that Congress is voting to cut funding to AmeriCorps.  If you care about service and the ability to make a living while helping underserved communities, reach out to your Congress-critter about why AmeriCorps matters.

THURSDAY BLOGGING: I wore this to my ukulele group

OOTDBlouse & pinafore || Jitterbuggin’ Portland

Shoes || Fluevog Hope Cherish

Earrings || Leetie Lovendale

Sunglasses || vintage

Bag || Kate Spade Tower Avenue Quinn

So basically I wore my entire tax return from this year and last year.  I’m trying to get a jump start on my goal to dress like I live in the 1940s when I’m in my 40s…did I succeed?

Also, looking at this photo, I realize that I need to wear a slip with this dress.  Live and learn.


WIP WESNDESDAY: Balsam Hollow shawl

Almost done with this pattern repeat, oh em gee

About 75% or so done with the Balsam Hollow shawl.  Knit with Cascade Heritage in Christmas Green that I bought off someone on Ravelry.  Lace pattern the first is almost done.  Knit with interchangeable needles, one 4 and one 5 on this stockinette section.  Nothing else of note.  Nothing to see here, move along.


TUESDAY TUNES: “Sloop John B.”, The Beach Boys

You know this one.

“Sloop John B.” was the first song for which I learned fingerpicking, thanks to a tab in the back of Ukulele magazine.  When Gentleman Caller and I caught Love and Mercy this weekend, the scene where the Beach Boys shoot a proto-video for this song prompted me to look it up on YouTube.

As a side note, I find these short films 1960s bands shot really charming.  Is it the primitive technology?  The nostalgic pull of the music?  The personalities of the band members, which seem more real than those of contemporary pop stars?  Something entirely different?  Who knows.  In spite of where Brian was at in his life, watching the Beach Boys cavort and do pratfalls makes me chuckle.

TUESDAY TUNES: “A Beautiful Woman”, Deradoorian

Apparently I chose the right time to fall under the spell of the Dirty Projectors.  While Dave Longstreth’s band has yet to announce another album, former vocalist Angel Deradoorian is getting ready to release a new album.  Her new single, “A Beautiful Woman”, has a sinuous groove and a cinematic mood, and the busy production is giving me Brian Eno flashbacks. Listen to it on Soundcloud.

[Real] Thursday Blogging: New Year’s Resolutions

In case you missed the previous post (or my Twitter, for that matter), today is my birthday.  I turned 101, or at least that’s how I feel.

Since my birthday comes in the middle of the year, I like to make my new year’s resolutions now.  I’m not going to post any of the “important” ones, in part because I don’t particularly want to leave my finance and job issues hanging out for everyone to see, and in part because I don’t want to give “thatkyliechick69” the satisfaction of knowing anything about my health goals.  (Ah, trolls.)

Anyway.  Some of my goals and plans for the following year include:

  • Finding a new job that starts once my contract at the Lab ends.  (Boston area, social media/marketing with a side of admin, nonprofit or academic preferred)
  • Night journaling
  • Getting more proficient at tap dance.  I’m doing well in class and have been practicing for 10 minutes a day, but I’d like to keep growing.
  • Cold Sheep at least for the summer months
  • Work towards the goal of recording a punk covers EP: figure out the skills I need to learn; transcribe the songs and learn the strums; record myself practicing
  • Put together a capsule wardrobe and do Project 333 (probably in the fall, when the weather and my life circumstances will have hopefully stabilized)
  • Blog 3-5 times a week
  • Work on making this blog look a little better
  • 52 in 52.

That last one might be confusing, so bear with me.  I want to get better at playing the ukulele, which requires practice and playing before an audience.  I’d like to learn 52 new songs and record myself playing them.  My goal is to get some footage of myself playing on my laptop and post it on YouTube every Thursday.

I posted my first two songs today.  Here’s my version of “I’ll Fly Away”, which holds the honor of being the first song I learned to play and sing on the ukulele that isn’t a Christmas song.

I’m hoping this won’t become an all-ukulele-all-the-time blog, but learning to play has been one of the great highlights of the past year.  My next song, a cover of September 67’s “Hazel Motes”, should be going up a week from today, I hope.

Thursday blogging: Tomorrow’s my birthday and I’m riding high

Tomorrow I celebrate my 101st birthday. Since it falls in the middle of the year, I like to take this opportunity to look back over the past year and contemplate what I want to do next.

What did you do this year that you’d never done before?
Worked a job that had something to do with my background and aspirations. Attended a conference as a representative.  Picked up a musical instrument and learned to dance (tap and blues dance, with a diversion into swing).

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My main NYR was to find a job, and I did that.  I am still thinking about what my resolutions for this year will be.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister-in-law, as well as one of the PhD students in the lab.

Did anyone close to you die?
There were a few close calls, but no deaths, thank God.

What countries did you visit?
Does DC count?

What would you like to have this year that you lacked last year?

A greater sense of fulfillment from within, as opposed to looking outside myself for validation.

What dates from this year will remain etched upon your memory and why?
The day I started at the lab; the day I worked at the State House; the whole of the first blizzard, which dovetailed with the conference I attended.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting and hanging onto a job in my field!  Seeing my byline on some internally-circulated documents.  Learning the ukulele and sticking with it.

What was your biggest failure?
I’ll plead the fifth here.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

Does injury of pride count?

What was the best thing you bought? 
Dead heat between the Janet Klein Flapper Firefly Banjolele and the tickets for Boston Calling I scored.  (Replacements, woo!)

Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My boss, who has the patience of a saint; Gentleman Caller’s…oh, and my tap teacher and my ukulele teacher, for helping and encouraging me.

Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The jabroni with the drawn-on eyebrows.  Also, the admin at my neurologist’s practice, as well as her nurse.

Where did most of your money go?
Rent or fixing my teeth.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Working at the lab!  Having a job where I feel fulfilled and happy.

What song will always remind you of this year?
“Little Mascara” by the Replacements; “I Summon You” by Spoon; “Books About UFOs” by Husker Du (the first song I learned on the ukulele); pretty much everything I’ve heard so far by the Dirty Projectors; “Goin’ Up on a Tuesday” (what?); “Take 5” by Dave Brubeck; “Te Doucement” by Blossom Dearie

Compared to this time last year, are you:
 a) happier or sadder? Happier, but aware of the transience of happiness.

b) thinner or fatter? My vintage garbadine tux pants don’t lie; I still haven’t shed my blizzard weight.

c) richer or poorer? Poorer.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Hung out with my cohort.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Feel disdainful towards the millennials what surround me.

How did you spend Christmas?
Arguing with my family.  Next.

Did you fall in love in 2010?
Stayed in love, which is better.

What was your favourite TV programme?

Mad Men. 

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Dead heat between the Dolores Umbridge of Nonprofits and the Martinet.

What was the best book you read?

Probably We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, thought Missing Reels was a lot of fun.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
DIRTY PROJECTORS.  Also, son jarocho.

What did you want and get?
A new ukulele!

What did you want and not get?

Did pretty well this year — can’t seem to think of anything.

What was your favourite film of this year?
I Am Big Bird, Every Everything, The Mighty Uke, Sandwiches That You Will Like, that new print of The Rules of the Game, Dear White People, The Third Man for the umpty-bazillionth time.  My taste in film has de-evolved to the point where I just want something entertaining while I knit and/or frog.  (I also enjoy crying in public.)

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Hung out in Northampton, buying yarn, looking at Louise Fitzhugh’s drawings for Harriet the Spy, and recovering from my attempt at being a rock promoter.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I wish I’d decided to make an EP of murder ballads before I came up with the idea to do a punk tribute EP.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

New wave fairy godmother-meets-Lucy Van Pelt.

What kept you sane?

Knitting and the love of Gentleman Caller.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Young Alex Chilton and Tom Verlaine.  And Britt Daniel.

What political issue stirred you the most?

Ferguson, which has a direct impact on the work I do.

Who did you miss?

My dad, who died of pancreatic cancer on my birthday 18 years ago.

Who was the best new person you met?

Evan, Treasure, Johnny, Jess, Jenny, and Amy.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned this year. 

If you don’t know how to be responsible, ask.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year